Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey, recently stressed the need for tech ‘clusters’ to spread throughout the UKif our country is ever to match the global reach of Munich and Tokyo.
Although the Southeast of England currently has the largest concentration of people employed in the technology industry, the government is keen to see high concentrations ofinnovative start-ups springing up elsewhere.
With that in mind we bring you some of the most exciting cities to explore by hire car outside of London and the Southeast, each of which can make a respectable claim to the title of the UK’s Tech Capital.
Cambridge’s world-class university is not the only famous institution in town; the cityis also the birthplace of modern British computing. In the late Seventies a race broke out between Sinclair Research and Acorn Computers, both Cambridge-based, to produce a working prototype.
Although both companies are long gone, Acorn’s legacy lives on through their ARM processor, whichalmost definitely powers your mobile phone or tablet.
And with the Cambridge Cluster (aka Silicon Fen) growing year-on-year, it is instrumental in UK tech – if not, worldwide.
With the UK’s road networks in need of some investment, Milton Keynes has become the home of a research project that promises to revolutionise road transport and bring a whole new meaning to smart cars.
Among the projects being developed at innovation centre Transport Systems Catapult is the ‘driverless car’ – already seeing some success in tests being run at Google’s headquarters in California, North America.
Of course Milton Keynes has another important claim to fame as the home to Bletchley Park, the place where British codecrackerssuccessfully intercepted transmissions during World War I and decoded the Nazis’ Enigma.
One of the top Bletchley Park code breakerswas Alan Turing, widely considered the father of modern computing and whose mathematical theories paved the way for the creation of the Manchester Mark 1 computer.
For many post-war years Turing lectured at the University of Manchester and is credited with sparking an interest in technology in the Northwest.Todayboth Siemens and Cisco are based in Greater Manchester, while the Manchester Science Parks is growing and currently home to more than 150 science and tech start-ups and innovative firms.
On the surface of it this Scottish city might not be the obvious UK centre oftechnology, but in the Nineties Dundee-based company DMA Design wascreated what was to become hit computer game Grand Theft Auto.
Operations have since been farmed out to Edinburgh, Leeds and Lincoln under the Rockstar Games umbrella, but this does not lessen the genius of the talented scene of programmers and designers behind what is now a multi-million pound success story.